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S. Korea to brief diplomatic corps on MERS

All Headlines 11:55 June 05, 2015

SEOUL, June 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is considering briefing the diplomatic corps in Seoul about the spread of the MERS virus, an official said Friday, as the country's death toll from the disease has risen to four.

Foreign residents in the country have expressed anxiety as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) has spread at a fast pace, bringing the total number of people diagnosed to 41.

Relevant government departments, including the foreign and health ministries, have been in talks over holding a session where they would address the concerns of the diplomatic corps and provide accurate information on the current situation and the government's response, the Foreign Ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

The session could be held as early as next week.

MERS is a viral respiratory illness that had a very high fatality rate of over 40 percent globally before the outbreak in South Korea, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Most people infected with MERS develop severe acute respiratory illness, including a fever, a cough and shortness of breath. There currently is no vaccine or treatment for the disease.

On Thursday, the Foreign Ministry said it has created a task force to keep the outbreak of MERS from undermining South Korea's national image.

The government is concerned that continued reports on MERS will reduce the number of foreign tourists, fuel anti-Korean sentiment and adversely affect the nation's credit ratings.

hague@yna.co.kr
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